Electrical cables, or power cables, perform the vital task of transmitting electrical power from one device to another. Without them, power stations, computer networks, televisions, telephones, and all other kinds of electronic devices would not be able to function. What type of cable is used depends on requirements like size, configuration, and performance.
Cables consist of at least two conducting wires and an outer protective jacket that shields them from both interference and environmental factors like heat, water, etc. Medium to high power cables that carry high voltages may also have the wires within the outer jacket individually enclosed in separate insulating sheaths. Conducting wires are typically made from copper, and synthetic polymers are used in the outer jacket and insulating material.
Coaxial cables possess a copper plated core, surrounded by a dielectric insulator. A woven shield of copper surrounds the insulating layer, which is then wound by an outer plastic sheath. Coaxial cables differ in size, performance, flexibility, power handling capabilities, and cost, and are most frequently used to connect home audio and video equipment, television networks, and components of a local area network. Hard lines, leaky cables, RG/6, twin-axial, biaxial, and semi-rigid are all examples of coaxial cabling.
Ribbon cables, also known as multi-wire planar electrical cables or flat twin cables, are made up of multiple insulated wires running parallel to each other. These wires allow for simultaneous transmission of multiple data signals. Typically consisting of four to twelve wires, they are used to interconnect network devices, as well as a computer’s motherboard to other components within a computer.
Twisted pair cables consist of a pair of insulated copper wires, which are color-coded and twisted around each other. Their diameter ranges from 0.4 to 0.8 millimeters, and the number of pairs can vary in different types of twisted pair cables. The greater the number of pairs, the more resistant the cable will be against cross-talk and external noise. Twisted pair cables are easy to install and relatively inexpensive, and are most frequently used for telephone cabling and wiring local area networks.
Lastly, shielded cables are made from one or more insulated wires covered by aluminum mylar weave or woven braid shielding. This shielding prevents external radio and power frequency interference, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted signal transmission. High voltage power cables are the most frequently shielded types of cables, as any interruption in flow for them could prove disastrous.
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